BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – The first time Joe Thornton attempted to pull on his new San Jose Sharks’ jersey Thursday, the cameras weren’t ready. The second time, everything – and everyone – clicked.

Here’s to second chances for the former Bruins captain, suddenly at peace with his Boston past and preparing for a fresh start on a new coast.

“It was emotional,” Thornton said, a day after he was part of a four-player trade that landed him with the Sharks. “But as the night went on, I kind of calmed down. Now, I’m excited to start something new.”

Better to be where he’s welcome than with a Boston team that, in seven-plus seasons, Thornton sensed what he termed a lack of commitment.

“I just never saw the full commitment from them as I gave to them,” he said, noting he didn’t expect to be traded after signing a three-year, $20 million deal with the Bruins last summer. “It’s unfortunate that this came about. … It’s strange, but I’ve got to move on.”

Thornton’s comments came shortly after he joined his new team, which is in Buffalo preparing for Friday night’s game against the Sabres.

The news conference ended a hectic 24-hour period for Thornton after the Sharks acquired him in exchange for forwards Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau and defenseman Brad Stuart.

The trade was between two struggling teams in need of a spark. The Bruins had gone 1-8-1 in their last 10 games before hosting Ottawa on Thursday. The Sharks are 0-7-3 in their last 10, their last win coming Nov. 4, a 1-0 overtime victory over Anaheim.

The Sharks can’t wait to see what type of lift Thornton, a six-time 20-goal scorer, can provide.

“We gave away three quality guys for a dominant centerman,” said defenseman Kyle McLaren, a former teammate of Thornton’s in Boston. “It’s a big move for us. And Joe’s the type of player that can help our team right now.”

Added Sharks captain Patrick Marleau: “There’s not one team out there that wouldn’t want to have him on their team.”

Coach Ron Wilson said acquiring a player like Thornton was a deal the Sharks couldn’t pass up.

“Once you get over the shock of losing three of our friends, I think we’re going to really come to enjoy watching Joe Thornton play every night,” said Wilson.

The coach learned about the deal shortly before San Jose’s game at Dallas, which the Sharks lost 4-1.

“We were scrambling last night, but riding the plane here to Buffalo, you’re thinking about all the possibilities of having a player like Joe on your team,” Wilson said.

At the time of the trade, Thornton led the Bruins with nine goals, 24 assists and 33 points, and had registered a point in all but five games.

this season. His best campaign was in 2002-03, when he had 36 goals and 65 assists for 101 points in 77 games.

Wilson already has an initial spot for Thornton in his lineup, centering Joe’s cousin Scott Thornton and right wing Jonathan Cheechoo.

The trade unites the first two players selected in the 1997, Thornton, the No. 1 pick, and Marleau.

“Following from afar, it was, “Patty Marleau and Joe Thornton, and who’s going to be better?”‘ Wilson said. “Now it’s going to be enjoyable to see the two of them compete with each other for the same goal, and that’s winning the Stanley Cup.”

Scott Thornton, who at 34 is eight years older than Joe, is excited to finally get a chance to play with his cousin.

“I’ve watched him since junior, followed his career, he’s just turned into an awesome hockey player,” said Scott Thornton, more noted for this grinding style.

The trouble might come in differentiating the two on the ice because Scott Thornton was already informed the team’s equipment staff doesn’t plan to add an “S’ or a “J’ to the backs of their respective jerseys.

Doesn’t matter, said Scott.

“I’m pretty sure everyone knows who Joe is,” he said with a laugh.

AP-ES-12-01-05 2201EST


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.